Sam Farmer’s crystal ball: NFL mock draft 2023 version 1.0

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud speaks from the podium during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine.
Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud is one of the top quarterback prospects in the upcoming NFL draft. One expert thinks he’ll be the No. 1 pick.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Quarterback mobility is a big deal in the NFL, and you can expect that a lot of teams are going to get mobile to land a quarterback.

What if the Chicago Bears bail out of the No. 1 pick?

This, the first of multiple Los Angeles Times mock drafts, ponders that possibility with several teams looking to upgrade at the most coveted — and often most perplexing — position.

And remember, there are only 31 picks in the first round this year, as the Miami Dolphins were stripped of their selection after the NFL ruled the club had violated tampering rules with quarterback Tom Brady and coach Sean Payton while they were under contract with other franchises.


One look at how the first round might unfold:

1. (proposed trade) Indianapolis: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State — The Colts are in position to move up and for the fifth time in Super Bowl era take a quarterback No. 1 overall, as they did with John Elway, Jeff George, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.

2. Houston: QB Bryce Young, Alabama — Texans are ready to upgrade from Davis Mills, and there’s something to like in all four of the top quarterback prospects.

3. Arizona: Edge Will Anderson Jr., Alabama — New coach Jonathan Gannon needs to rebuild the league’s second-worst scoring defense, and Anderson is a good building block for that.

4. (proposed trade) Chicago: DT Jalen Carter, Georgia — Carter could be the No. 1 overall pick, but off-field troubles have him slipping a bit in this mock.

5. Seattle: Edge Myles Murphy, Clemson — The Seahawks were near the bottom of the league in pass rush last season and twice gave up at least 40 points.


With the NFL combine starting Tuesday in Indianapolis, here are five positions the Los Angeles Rams might focus on improving in the 2023 draft.

Feb. 27, 2023

With the NFL combine starting Tuesday in Indianapolis, here are five positions the Los Angeles Chargers might focus on during this offseason.

Feb. 27, 2023

6. Detroit: Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech — The Lions badly need help at cornerback but with two picks in the top 18 might wait and grab a quality pass rusher here.

7. Las Vegas: QB Will Levis, Kentucky — If the Raiders don’t address their quarterback need in free agency, they could take Levis or Anthony Richardson here.

8. Atlanta: DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson — Grady Jarrett led the Falcons with six sacks last season, and as a team the Falcons generated only 21. That’s got to change.

9. Carolina: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida — If the Panthers don’t sign a quarterback in free agency — Derek Carr? — they might use a first-round pick on one for the first time since Cam Newton in 2011.

10. Philadelphia: CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois — It’s going to be pricey to keep James Bradberry, so the Eagles take a corner in the opening round for the first time since 2002.


11. Tennessee: OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern — If Skoronski makes it out of the top 10, the Titans could plug him in as a replacement for since-released left tackle Taylor Lewan.

12. Houston: WR Jordan Addison, USC — Texans got their quarterback with the second pick, and now they have a swift and sure-handed player for the other end of those passes.

USC receiver Jordan Addison cross the goal line while making a touchdown catch against UCLA.
USC’s Jordan Addison figures to be one of the first wide receivers taken in the first round of the NFL draft.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

13. New York Jets: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State — The Jets got their flash at the top of last year’s draft with cornerback Sauce Gardner and receiver Garrett Wilson, and now they need someone to stem the onslaught of sacks.

14. New England: CB Brian Branch, Alabama — Offensive tackle would be a fit here, but the Patriots will have their pick of one of the top cornerbacks if they stay in the middle of the round.


15. Green Bay: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame — The Packers again avoid taking a wide receiver in the opening round and instead find a replacement for Robert Tonyan, whose deal is expiring.

16. Washington: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon — If the Commanders don’t trade up for a quarterback, they might opt to stay put and find a bookend to cornerback Kendall Fuller.

17. Pittsburgh: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State — Pittsburgh hasn’t had much luck in the last 30 years drafting a cornerback in the first round, but maybe the team hits it big with the son of a former Steelers star.

18. Detroit: CB Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State — Secondary is the most pressing area of need on Detroit’s defense, and the Lions address it with their second pick.

19. Tampa Bay: Edge Keion White, Georgia Tech — The Buccaneers could use a running back, but they can find one later. More pressing is their need to ramp up the pass rush.


20. Seattle: WR Quentin Johnston, Texas Christian — Maybe the Seahawks look for someone to eventually (or immediately) replace Geno Smith, or perhaps they give Smith another target.

21. Chargers: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas — Lots of directions the Chargers could go — including trading down — but one is finding someone to shoulder the ball-carrying load with Austin Ekeler.

Texas running back Bijan Robinson (5) escapes a tackle by Kansas State safety Kobe Savage.
Texas running back Bijan Robinson, escaping a tackle attempt by Kansas State safety Kobe Savage, could be a good fit with the Chargers.
(Reed Hoffmann / Associated Press)

22. Baltimore: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State — Trading Marquise Brown to Arizona and losing Rashod Bateman to injury left the Ravens perilously thin at receiver.

23. Minnesota: CB Deonte Banks, Maryland — New defensive coordinator Brian Flores could use an aggressive corner such as Banks to bolster the Vikings secondary.


24. Jacksonville: TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah — If he lasts this long, Kincaid would be a capable replacement for Evan Engram, whom the Jaguars have not resigned.

25. New York Giants: WR Zay Flowers, Boston College — Assuming they strike deals with Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, the Giants have to turn their attention to restocking the receivers room.

26. Dallas: WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee — The Cowboys need to find some help for CeeDee Lamb, and they currently don’t have a clear No. 2 receiver.

27. Buffalo: S Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M — The Bills desperately need help at receiver, but if all the top-shelf guys are off the board could turn their attention to holes in the secondary.

28. Cincinnati: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina — The Bengals could use a tight end, but they need someone who can round into a replacement for cornerback Eli Apple.


29. New Orleans: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama — Gibbs has drawn a lot of comparisons to Alvin Kamara, and that type of player would work well for the Saints.

30. Philadelphia: Edge Lucas Van Ness, Iowa — The Eagles figure to lose a lot of free agents this offseason, and they were reminded last season just how effective a supercharged pass rush can be.

31. Kansas City: Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia — The Chiefs have decisions to make on pass rushers Frank Clark and Carlos Dunlap, and landing Smith could make those easier.